Manhattan Cosmetic Dentist

Your Dentist in New York
Svetlana Yampolsky, DDS
19 West 34th Street #1201
New York, NY 10001
Voice: 212-564-6686
Fax: 212-564-0345


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Periodontal Disease Link to Pancreative Cancer:
New Research Underscores How the Mouth is the Gateway to Overall Health

By Terry S. Gotthelf, DDS, PC

New research provides the first strong evidence that periodontal (gum) disease may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and will kill 95 percent of the 32,000 people who get it this year, according to the American Cancer Society and study by the Harvard School of Public Health and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute reported in a recent issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial infection. If left untreated over time, resulting inflammation of the gums will cause loss of bone that supports the teeth, which leads to tooth loss in severe cases. The study showed that men with periodontal disease had a 63% higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared to those reporting no periodontal disease, after adjusting for age, smoking, diabetes and other factors.

While the study found a statistical link between gum disease or tooth loss and pancreatic cancer, more research is needed to establish periodontal disease, and the related inflammation is a cause. Men with gum disease often have indicators for chronic inflammation throughout the body. Levels of a protein called C-reactive protein, which is a measure of inflammation, have been found to be 30% higher than those of men with healthy gums.

In addition, the bacteria responsible for gum disease may produce nitrosamines, which are compounds known to cause cancer. Individuals with periodontal disease and poor oral hygiene have elevated levels bacteria and nitrosamines in their oral cavity.

This research underscores that the mouth is the gateway to overall health, and it shows the importance of good oral hygiene and regular periodontal examinations and treatment. For more information, see this recent article from the Wall Street Journal.

Read about Dr. Gotthelf's Holistic Dental Services.